The Festering Sore

The Festering Sore

What, yet more books on the concentration camps? Who wants to read them—to stir up painful memories, to unbury the dead?

But are we so sure we have learned the lessons of the camps, that key phenomenon of the mid-twentieth century? Does it not reappear in new guises: in the defoliation and “relocation” programs in South Vietnam, in the tribal wars in Africa? Perhaps we can use a reminder from time to time; perhaps we should expose ourselves to these harrowing recordings, not out of masochistic fascination, but so that we finally may come to terms with this essential ingredient of life in our epoch.

There always have been two basically different approaches to the camp experience in the concentration-camp litera...

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